it all starts with the Mundy family?
The Mundy family lived at Markeaton Hall with its 16 acres of gardens. In the 1900’s Mrs Mundy bequeathed some of the Land to be used as leisure facilities for the local people. Eventually the estate was left to the Council, with a stipulation that it be used to benefit the citizens of Derby. We believe that some of that donated land included our current location, opposite *Britannia Mill, on the corner of Markeaton Street. (*Note our Club Badge)
In June 1913 in what used to be The Wheel Hotel, chaired by Local Councillor Mr Finch, Mr Harrison proposed and Mr Adcock seconded that The West End Bowling Club be formed. Mr Finch was then voted in as President and an annual subscription of 1/- proposed, that’s equivalent to £100 in todays money.
The Hotel was used to hold meetings, but a green was laid on the grassed land that had been set aside for leisure. We imagine that the existing Pavilion was built as the original clubhouse adjacent to the green, as well as tennis courts that remained at the site until the late 1980’s!
In the 1970’s the Pavilion served as not only the Clubhouse but also as “headquarters” for Derby City Councils Bob Nanson, professional Greenkeeper as well as DWEBC member. If our Lectern could talk what tales it might tell! The small building didn’t really meet the needs of our post-match requirements, so in stepped …. The Gas Board, on the opposite side of the road, where now stands a nursery, stood a mock Tudor building that offered DWEBC beer, hospitality and a steady supply of members, One imagines there were many crossings made between the two locations. You can find information about Ken Hardy in the clubhouse, not only did he serve the gas board for 40 years, he had an impressive bowling prowess.
In around 1988 Paddy Donoher, a club member, headed up negotiations to build what we now recognise as phase (I) of todays Clubhouse. Also, conversion of the previously mentioned tennis courts into what is now our green 2, as well as upgrading the changing rooms that had been provided by the council.
All of this hard work ensured the continued success of the club. With a long list of members who represented Derbyshire for both The English Bowling Federation and what is now Bowls England. We also boast providing The English Bowling Federation with two National Presidents, Mrs Dot Webster and Mr Brian Chester, as well as a host of County presidents and club members who hold county positions on the executive. Without the support of the many dedicated members (approx.130 men and ladies) and key volunteers that included Brian Scales, Maurice Webster, Gordon Wallis, Brian Chester, Tommy Milnes, Derek Barrell and Dave Waggett, Mr John Mackie took up the mantle of project managing the Clubhouse project as it moved onto phase (II).
This phase circa 90/92 was self-funded and saw an extension built to the front, we can see the internal pillars today, it also extended the kitchen and provided the bar. At last we were fully operational at our own site. Sadly due to the advent and uptake of Indoor bowling as well as other social changes, the considered expansion to phase (III), a rear extension, so that seating capacity could comfortably exceed 100+ became non-viable. The club continued to be well supported and attracted amongst many others, the likes of George Riley and John Vale who hailed from the scouting movement, both of whom are still active members today, as well as Martin Barke, secretary for many years, John Wilcoxson who held the bar license, and Len Parker who still serves as our Treasurer.
In March of 2010, DWEBC received sponsorship from their neighbours over at Derby University, they updated the playing kit from the very traditional and formal white shirts, blazer and tie, to a blue and white tops with badge and logo.
Amongst and including all our great volunteers we can boast about some great competitors, who’ve had outstanding successes at Club, County, National and even International Level. I’d recommend looking at all the memorabilia and honours boards that line the clubhouse walls.
To bring us nearly bang up to date, in 2022 sponsorship again came our way in memory of the late Derek Barrell, in the form of our new blue shirts and zipper jackets, the kit we wear proudly today. Derby Croquet Club also formed, using Green 2 as a part time Croquet Lawn.
So in 2023 the year in which we have provided The English Bowling Federation with both the Mens and Ladies County presidents, we wish ourselves a happy 110 year birthday, let’s celebrate on the greens with our newly formed croquet section, take pride in our Bowling Club and raise a glass to its future.
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